The UMD has warmly welcomed the news that Mr. Luke Simpkins – Federal Member of the House of Representatives for the seat of Cowan in Western Australia will be the Chairman of the Australia Macedonia Parliamentary Friendship Group in this four-year term of the Australian Parliament.
UMD Australia’s Director Mr. Ordan Andreevski explained, “the Australia Macedonia Parliamentary Friendship Group is a very important institutional body in the Australian Parliament which has played a leadership role in nurturing close ties with the Republic of Macedonia and with the Macedonian community in Australia. Luke Simpkins MP has been an active and influential member of all previous Parliamentary Friendship Groups where he demonstrated his strong commitment to working closely with Macedonia and its diaspora in Australia. He has been a strong advocate for Australia to recognise Macedonia under its legitimate constitutional name. He has visited Macedonia and Macedonian communities in Albania and The Hellenic Republic and has communicated his concerns to the EU and the Australian Parliament about the need to protect the legitimate rights of Macedonia and Macedonia diasporas in the region. We expect that Luke Simpkins will lead his team of 22 other MPs from across the political spectrum on an official visit to Macedonia soon as possible”.
UMD Australia is delighted to note that Luke Simpkins MP was awarded the UMD Macedonia Friendship Award in 2013 as part of the Gala Dinner in Sydney devoted to Advancing Australia Macedonia Relations. UMD could not have asked for a better person to lead the work of the Australia Macedonia Parliamentary Friendship Group. Luke Simpkins MP is a highly respected member of the Parliamentary Liberal Party, which is lead by Prime Minister Tony Abbott and the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party, the Hon Julie Bishop MP and Foreign Minister. We hope that Luke will encourage the Australian Government to open an Embassy in Macedonia and make the region a higher priority for Australia. Such a diplomatic post will serve the unmet needs of Australians who visit Macedonia as well as the needs of local Macedonians and other communities who need access to Australian diplomatic and consular services.
Since 2004, UMD has been working actively to shape national, parliamentary and policy debates in Australia on a range of important policy and research issues. These include ways to improve the bilateral relations between Australia and Macedonia and submissions to the Australian Parliament to increase the impact of Australia’s Overseas Representation, the Inquiry into Multiculturalism and Social Inclusion, the Inquiry into Australia’s International Development Assistance Program, the Australian Research Council Linkage Project on The Macedonian Diaspora in Australia: Current and Potential Links with the Homeland.” and most recently a submission into Australia’s Consular Strategy 2014-2016.